The Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s (Alliance) newest partnership with members of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (SAAESD) and Association of Southern Region Extension Directors (ASRED) will expand efforts to balance agricultural needs with improved water quality. The Alliance is a regional partnership of the five U.S. Gulf Coast States, numerous federal agencies, academia and non-governmental organizations. SAAESD and ASRED include Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Services of the southern states from Virginia to Oklahoma. Those participating in the Alliance are:
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System
- Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
- Florida Cooperative Extension Service
- Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
- Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service
- Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station
- Mississippi State University Extension Service
- Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service
- Texas AgriLife Research
Incorporating SAAESD and ASRED members into the Alliance’s active programming and projects creates a gateway for communication regarding innovative agricultural projects in the region that can assist the Alliance in addressing various issues related to the health of Gulf waters.
“The university Agricultural Experiment Station scientists bring extraordinary depth and breadth to the scientific issues relating to Gulf of Mexico ecosystems,” said Mark McLellan, Dean and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Florida.
Likewise, Paul D. Coreil, Vice Chancellor and Director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, also commented about the mutually-beneficial relationship. “The Extension Service effectively connects the public to research-based information that helps address priority needs and solve problems. A stronger working partnership with research scientists and other Gulf of Mexico agencies will allow Extension to better serve individuals, communities and businesses across the region,” Coreil said.
In particular, this partnership will enable the Alliance to reach out to agricultural scientists in the South regarding one of the Alliance’s priority issues: nutrient management. Nutrient management is managing crop fertility for efficient crop growth balanced with water quality protection. Alliance partners actively participate in technology and communication projects designed to increase water quality downstream of agricultural areas. This includes the hypoxic zone that forms south of the Mississippi River each summer in the Gulf of Mexico.
“To address hypoxia on a large scale, we need to find the solutions that work locally, but have regional affects,” said Phil Bass, Acting Director for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. “Partnerships with valuable organizations such as SAAESD and ASRED open the door for a wide range of possible solutions to water quality issues.”
The Alliance is proud of their productive working relationships with state, federal and local agencies and looks forward to getting the SAAESD and ASRED Gulf State members fully immersed in our on-the-ground projects.
About the Gulf of Mexico Alliance:
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a non-profit public charity representing the Gulf States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Alliance has been in operation since 2004, although it was formalized into a 501(c)3 organization in 2010. The Alliance’s mission is to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf region by encouraging collaboration among government agencies, businesses, academia and other non-governmental organizations. Priorities for achieving the Alliance’s mission include water quality, habitat conservation, ecosystems assessment, hypoxia, resilience and environmental education. To learn more about the Alliance’s mission and priority issues, visit www.gulfofmexico.org.
About the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors:
The Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors is an organization of agricultural experiment stations in the 13 southern states and two territories. Its purpose is to encourage multistate collaboration among agricultural scientists and related disciplines as well as inform the funders of agricultural research about research priorities, impacts, and status of research projects. Visit SAAESD
About the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors:
The Association of Southern Region Extension Directors enables Directors of Cooperative Extension in the various states to cooperate across state lines in providing educational information to the public in more efficient and non-duplicative ways. ASRED is composed of Directors of Extension from 13 states and 2 territories in the southeast. Visit ASRED